Parking in Hoboken can be difficult. Parking a late model Ford Expedition right outside City Hall presents its own unique challenges.
Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla has reportedly been making use of a “police vehicle” that was purchased earlier this year after being approved by City Council and was budgeted as being part of five vehicles purchased for the police department.
After a reader tipped off hMAG, we stopped by City Hall to check out the Mayor’s new set of wheels (photo above).
According to Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante, “it’s a vehicle with a police package for our Investigations Bureau, which is used for dignitary protection, moving of individuals in confidential situations, transporting of special victims and families of victims and the Mayor’s Security Detail.”
hMAG spoke with Councilman Michael DeFusco, who revealed that the vehicle was part of the August 1st City Council agenda (
page not found on Hoboken’s new website Hoboken Spokesperson Santiago Melli-Huber provided the link), and that the price tag for Hoboken taxpayers was $63,000. “We didn’t even question it,” said DeFusco, “because it was for the Police Department.”
Chief Ferrante added, “Except for Mayor Zimmer, who never accepted a security detail or vehicle for the government business she had to handle, there were always vehicles dedicated to the prior Mayors, and I am certain you will find vehicles dedicated to almost every, if not every current Mayor in Hudson County. This vehicle is not assigned to the Mayor solely, but is used for his security detail.”
The Mayor’s security detail is in place following perceived threats to the Mayor, and was enacted by the suggestion of the FBI.
“As I said at several City Council Meetings, the mayor did not ask for a security detail, I received a phone call from FBI SAC Tim Gallagher the day after the Mayoral Election and he advised me based on their intelligence gather, this mayor needs a security detail,” said Ferrante.
When asked for specific information on the cost of the Mayor’s security, Detective Captain Charles Campbell, who is in command of the Investigations Division, told hMAG, “In the law enforcement profession WE need, and the PUBLIC needs us, to take certain precautions that have to be considered in the world of 2018 and beyond. That is a fact no matter if a Jewish woman, a Sikh man, a person of color, or anyone else who might not fit the cookie cutter mold of what some believe to be a reflection of whom they want representing any official office. This consideration as well as specific related facts that again I will not go in to make the need for security details in Hoboken and across the nation a reality.”
The Ford Expedition is a classified as a “premium full-size utility vehicle,” with a fuel economy of 17 miles per gallon (mpg) City, 24 mpg highway. It is 210″ L x 84″ W x 76-77″ H, has an estimated curb weight of 5,500 pounds (empty) and seats up to 8 passengers.
According to Ferrante, “The vehicle is the size and shape it is and is the type used for many governmental and police details due to how it could be tactically used, which explains the floor boards. The tint in the back is for privacy of victims, victims’ families and special dignitaries that we will want to move safely and confidentially.”
Good luck parallel parking that thing…